1. International Trade of South Korea:
An export oriented economy, South Korea's imports and exports are reported by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. Historically, from 1966 until 2013, South Korea Imports averaged 9939.54 USD Million reaching an all time high of 45565.95 USD Million in March of 2011 and a record low of 38.61 USD Million in January of 1966. On the other hand, from 1966 until 2013, South Korea Exports averaged 10364.59 USD Million reaching an all time high of 48950.11 USD Million in July of 2011 and a record low of 14.75 USD Million in January of 1966.
Import: Oil (23%), Semiconductors (6%), Natural Gas (5%), Coal, Steel, Iron Ore
Export: Semiconductors (9% percent), Machinery (9%), Automobiles (9%), Ships (7%), LCD devices (5%), Wireless Communication Devices (4%), Steel (7%), Petrochemicals (10%)
b) How Much?
Import: $44,139,000,000 USD (as of March of 2013)
Export: $47,496,000,000 USD (as of March of 2013)
c) To Whom/ From Whom?
Import: China (16%), Japan (12%), the United States (8%), Saudi Arabia (7%), the European Union (9%), ASEAN (10%), Australia (5%)
Export: China (25%), ASEAN (14%), the United States (10%), the European Union (9%), Japan, India, Brazil, Paraguay
2. Exchange Rate:
The USDKRW spot exchange rate indicates how much one of each American Dollar is worth in terms of Korean Won. The USDKRW spot exchange rate is quoted and exchanged in the same day; the USDKRW forward rate is quoted today but for delivery and payment on a specific future date.
a) Current Value:
During the last 30 days, the USDKRW spot exchange rate appreciated 1.3200 or 0.12 percent.
b) Recent History:
From 1981 to 2013, the USDKRW averaged 984.9900 reaching an all time high of 1962.5000 in December of 1997 and a record low of 667.2000 in July of 1989.
Most immigrants are not eligible for citizenship or permanent residency, unless they are married to a South Korean citizen or have invested more than five million USD in the local economy.
a) Korea as a Sending Country: in the past, Korea was a sending country, which sent laborers to the United States, Germany and the Middle East.
*Number of Korean People Around the World: 6.8 million (2.3 million in China and 2 million Korea Americans)
b) Korea as a Receiving Country: especially after the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Korea increased exchanges with foreign countries. In 2007, Korea was declared an official receiving country by the United Nations.
*Number of Foreigners in Korea (as of 2007): 1 million (63% were temporary workers, 10% were marred to Koreans, 23% were illegal immigrants)
*The nationalities of immigrants: Mostly from China, Vietnam, Mongolia, the Philippines, Bangladesh. Some from Nigeria, Ghana, Russia and the United States.
4. Relations with Other Countries
a) Recent Conflicts:
*2010 March 26th: South Korean warship Cheonan sinks, killing 46 sailors (Pyongyang denies involvement)
*2010 October 29th: Troops from North and South Korea exchange fire across the border
*2010 November 23rd: North fires on island of Yeonpyeong killing four South Korean marines.
b) Historical Conflicts:
1. Korea under Japanese Rule
*Starting with Japan-Korea Treaty of 1876, Japanese Empire sought to subjugate Korea both politically and economically as a protectorate.
*In 1905, Korea was declared an Imperial Japanese protectorate and officially annexed in 1910.
*Japanese rule continued until its defeat at the end of World War II at which time Korea became an independent nation albeit divided under two separate governments and economic systems.
*Crimes and indignities committed against the Korean people during the Japanese administration of Korea continue to be the subject of controversy between these two nations.
2. The Korean War (25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953)
*It was a war between the South Korea supported by the United Nations and North Korea supported by China and the Soviet Union.
*The North established a communist government while the South established a right-wing government.
*The 38th parallel increasingly became a political border between the two Korean states.
*The situation escalated into open warfare when North Korean forces invaded South Korea on 25 June 1950.
*The South was pushed back for two months until a rapid U.N. counter-offensive then drove the North Koreans past the 38th Parallel.
*China then entered the war on the side of North Korea which forced the Southern-allied forces to retreat behind the 38th Parallel.
*The fighting ended on 27 July 1953, when the armistice agreement was signed.
1. The United States of America
*The two have strong economic, diplomatic, and military ties.
*After World War II, the United States aggressively engaged in the decolonization of South Korea from Japan.
*Upon the onset of the Korean War, U.S. forces were deployed to fight for South Korea against North Korean invasion.
*During the Vietnam War in 1967, South Korea sent a large combat troop to assist the United States.
*Currently, the U.S. Eighth Army, Seventh Air Force and U.S. Naval Forces Korea are stationed in South Korea.
*A free trade agreement (KORUS FTA) was signed between them in 2007 and went into effect in 2012.
2. European Union
*South Korea and EU are important trading partners.
*Two signed FTA, which was approved in 2010 and went into effect in 2011.
*South Korea is the EU's eighth largest trade partner, and the EU has become South Korea's second largest export destination.
*Historically, Korea has had close relations with China before World War II began.
*The diplomatic relationship between South Korea and China almost completely ceased after China assisted North Korea with manpower and supplies during the Korean War.
*Relations gradually improved when South Korea and China re-established formal diplomatic relations in 1992.